By: Lindsay Johannsen
Length: 329 pages
Release date: Nov 30, 2013
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When the pilot of a light aircraft notices an abandoned vehicle north of the Plenty Highway in the desert-margin country of Australia’s vast Simpson Desert, she reports it to Flight Service. The flight controller passes this information on to the Alice Springs police, following which Senior Constable Rick Frazier is sent from his remote Central Australian police station at Harts Range to investigate. But his regular Aboriginal Police Aide is away on tribal business, so along the way he calls in to the Bonya Community to recruit Jack Cadney – a bush mechanic with previous experience as a police aide who now assembles cars for a living.
When the two arrive at the abandoned vehicle Cadney can hardly believe it. Why would anyone abandon a perfectly good tray-back 4x4 Nissan Patrol out in the middle of nowhere? ...and more importantly, where is its driver?
But Cadney’s father Twofoot Jack has more pressing worries. Some strangers came to the Community – doing a bit of prospecting, they said, and hoping someone from there could guide them into the North Simpson. Later, on learning they’d actually been looking for his tribal group’s most secret ceremonial site, Twofoot Jack becomes angry and concerned – him being, as senior man for the whole region, its ultimate custodian and utterly responsible for every aspect of its maintenance and well being.
And how could the pair have done so? ...when not a whitefella alive is supposed to know the place even exists. Yet far from being a matter of the old men’s cultural sensitivities, Twofoot’s concerns about the place actually centre on matters that are largely his own.
As for Cadney and Frazier... Well, those two are soon caught up in the legacy of old time miner and prospector Les McCullock’s late 1940’s schemings – no matter that he is long dead and buried – plus those of Twofoot Jack and certain other, more recent doings.
This is no TV style CSI at some multi million dollar mansion, with cool-as bikini-clad witnesses being interviewed poolside. This is Central Australia! This is the bush!
So get yourself a taste of the North Simpson’s spinifex country and its fine red sand, as you head into the desert margins with Cadney and Frazier. Soon puzzle turns to mystery and mystery to murder as secrets old and new pile up. And when the wily old Twofoot starts stirring the stew pot with some secrets of his own, Jack Cadney finds himself in a difficult situation with very few options ... and a policeman demanding answers...